In full camping mode, I slept in until 8am, which is a full three hours after my usual wake up time. I blame my usual hideous rising habits on the hound, who is kind of insistent on getting fed at some ridiculous time in the morning. It seems, though, that the Georgian Bay air is good for getting me out of my routine.
It had been curious first night away, with me being alternately hot and sweaty, then cold. We had the windows open, but the night time temperature was low compared with what the past few weeks has offered. Still, the fresh air obviously helped, and not having a dog sharing the bed was very enjoyable.
Also, because I’m in full camping mode, I made up some fine coffee and sat outside in the bright morning sun to enjoy it, which always makes for a good start to the day.
With no plan to speak of, we headed into town for some fuel, and baulked at the price - $1.39 a litre! But, I thought, we’re on holiday, so I filled the tank with gay abandon (and fuel) and scoffed at the $76 total. Then I turned right and headed out to Meaford, on the shores of Georgian Bay.
We’re up on the top of the Niagara escarpment here and it was a fine sight as we dropped off the plateau down the arrow straight road towards Meaford. We could see the other side of the bay, some distance away, and admired the incredibly blue water between Meaford and Christian Island.
Meaford itself is a sleepy little town, with a small harbour and an almost deserted Main Street. We parked up (free parking, my English friends, free!) by the little beach and set off to explore, which didn’t take long. We saw the harbour and its resident cormorants, then mooched along the quiet main street, diving into a couple of junk shops to see what we could see. It was uncommonly quiet, but then it was Sunday and I think this is quite a God-fearing part of the world, at least judging by the number of churches dotted around.
What we did see, though, was gas on sale at $1.29 a litre, 10 cents cheaper than 30Kms away. I was all for taking the expensive stuff back to Owen Sound and re-filling in Meaford, but Mrs. T pointed out the impracticality of that little exercise. I’ve inherited my fascination for fuel prices from my dear departed father, and it’s darned annoying.
On a whim, lunch was taken at a smart little restaurant called Andrew’s Roots. The lunch menu was a wee bit limited but at least it wasn’t burgers and dogs. Mrs. T opted for the vegan curry while I went for a fancy version of that good old Canadian classic, Grilled Cheese. Our server was attentive, although hardly overworked as there were only two other people in the place, and she helped a bit with the information on the contents of the curry. Sadly, Mrs. T didn’t really enjoy her meal; not that it was badly prepared or presented, it was just not to her taste. My grilled cheese was OK, and made a change for me, but I don’t think either of us was bowled over. Nice try Andrew’s Roots, not sure we’ll be back, though.
Heading back to the car, we decided to have a little paddle in the lake. It looked so inviting but, true to form, the clear waters of Georgian Bay were very cold, despite the fine weather we've been having over the past few weeks. The Bay, you see, is very deep as it forms the lower part of the Niagara Escarpment. Blue and welcoming the lake water may look, but it’s a real shocker when you get in there.
From Meaford we headed south to Thornbury, on the edge of the Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains area is famed for its winter skiing, the steep drop of the north facing escarpment being perfect for collecting, and keeping, the snow. Of course, in July, all the slopes, carved out from the vast woodlands, are vivid green but still look striking as they drop down to the lake. We did a very short circuit in Thornbury, mostly because it looked like just a bigger version of Meaford, then decided to head inland, following the course of the Beaver River.
Most roads in Ontario are drawn with a ruler; straight and visible for miles. But following a river, the road twisted and turned and that made a pleasant change. As we motored, the broad valley narrowed, and cliffs were visible in amongst the trees on either side of the road. We were climbing, too, and eventually ended up on top of the plateau again, at a place called Eugenia, home of the Eugenia Falls. The little river there tumbles off a limestone ledge and drops thirty metres to the floor below. It’s not a big waterfall because the river has been dammed further up and the water supply is limited, but it was a very picturesque place to be. Slightly worrying was all the people walking to the very edge of the falls to look over, despite all the signs saying, “Don’t Do That!”. I waited with camera ready to see if anyone did topple over and was mildly disappointed when no one did.
Then it was a long run back up Highway 10 to Owen Sound, with only a brief stop at the Liquor Store for cider and beer, and an irritating detour, down gravel roads, as there had been some sort of crash on the main road. I mention the detour because, it being a Sunday afternoon, the southbound traffic was really quite busy (that’s comparative; this ain’t Toronto), and the sight of hundreds of cars barrelling towards us at 80Km/h down a narrow, dusty road wasn’t really much fun.
Anyway, back at base on what had been a very hot day, we sat in the darkened trailer and put the world to rights. We resisted the temptation to fire up the A/C and endured the slowly cooling evening with the windows open and the extractor fans on.
As ever, we have no fixed plans for the morrow, other than a lazy start to the day.
Mr Toad - Airstreamer
The Old Blog